Jail sentence for UK hacker who took a nation offline

Written by Sam Trendall on 14 January 2019 in News
News

Anti-cybercrime leaders say Daniel Kaye was a ‘talented and sophisticated cybercriminal’

A hacker whose attacks disabled internet access across Liberia has been jailed for 32 months.

Daniel Kaye from Surrey pleaded guilty to using a botnet to attack Liberian telecoms firm Lonestar MTN. His work was paid for by a senior employee of rival telco Cellcom.

Kaye began launching distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks from his then home in Cyprus in October 2015. At first, he carried out the assaults using “rented botnets and stressors”, according to the National Crime Agency, before beginning to use the self-created Mirai botnet in September 2016.

In November 2016, the traffic generated by Mirai reached such a volume that it “disabled internet access across Liberia”, the NCA said.

Kaye’s actions also caused losses stretching to “tens of millions of dollars” for the victims of his attacks, said Mike Hulett, head of operations at the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit.


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“Daniel Kaye was operating as a highly skilled and capable hacker-for-hire. His activities inflicted substantial damage on numerous businesses in countries around the world, demonstrating the borderless nature of cybercrime,” he added. “Working in collaboration with international law enforcement partners played a key role in bringing Daniel Kaye to justice.”

Following an NCA investigation and the issue of a European arrest warrant, Kaye was arrested when he returned to the UK in February 2017. Shortly thereafter he was extradited to Germany – where he received a suspended sentence for an attack that affected one million customers of Deutsche Telekom – before returning to the UK in 2017 on another European arrest warrant.

He plead guilty last month to the use of a botnet and the possession of criminal property and was last week sentenced in Blackfriars Crown Court in London.

Russell Tyner of the Crown Prosecution Service said: “Kaye was a talented and sophisticated cybercriminal who created one of the world's largest networks of compromised computers which he then made available to other cybercriminals with no consideration as to the damage it would cause. The CPS and the NCA, together with the authorities in Germany and Cyprus, worked closely together in order to bring him to justice.”

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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